10th Class English Grammar (All Topics) Subject - Verb Agreement

Subject - Verb Agreement

Category : 10th Class

*       Subject - Verb Agreement

 

Introduction: Subject-Verb agreement is one of the most important topics in Grammar. It can be called the structure or the skeleton. For correct and confident English, you have to have a good understanding of this agreement. Subject: Verb agreement is based on two basic rules.  

Rule - 1  

SUBJECT is SINGULAR ____________ VERB is SINGULAR

 

(i)   She tells stories. (Sing. Sub. Sing. Verb)

(ii)  Poonam sings well. (Sing. Sub. Sing. Verb)  

Exception:  

(i)   With I, excluding am and was, there is always a Plural subject.

(ii)  You always takes a Plural subject.  

 

Rule - 2  

SUBJECT is PLURAL __________VERB is PLURAL  

 

 

(i)   They are playing a game, (Plural Sub. Plural Verb)

(ii)  We are planning to get our daughter married. (Plural Sub. Plural Verb)

In general, the number and person of any Finite Verb are corresponding to the number and person of the subject.  

 

 

 

(i)   They dance. (Plural Sub. Finite verb)

(ii)  She goes. (Plural Sub. Finite verb)

Here in (i), dance is a Finite verb, where 'They' is a plural subject in the plural form.

But in (ii), goes is a Finite verb, where it is with the singular subject 'She' and in singular form.

Subjects and verbs must agree with one another in number (singular or plural). Thus, if a subject is singular, its verb must also be singular, if a subject is plural, its verb must also be plural.

Remember that, problems related to subject-verb agreement are normally found with the usage of associated subjects like - is, re, m, was, were, do, does, have, has, etc. or with main subject in Present Indefinite Tense.

Let us check out a few golden rules related to subject-verb agreement and common general errors.  

 

*            A. Subject-Verb Agreement  

1.   Two or more Singular Subjects connected by and usually take a Verb in the Plural.  

 

 

Ram and Sham is here. (Incorrect)

Ram and Sham are here. (Correct)  

2.   If two singular Nouns refer to the same person or thing, the Verb must be Singular.  

 

 

The Secretary and Principal are coming. (Incorrect)

The Secretary and Principal is coming. (Correct)  

3.   If the Singular Subjects are preceded by each or every, the Verb is usually Singular.  

 

 

Every boy and girl were ready. (Incorrect)

Every boy and girl was ready. (Correct)  

4.   Two or more Singular Subjects connected by or, nor, either....or, neither...nor take a Verb in the Singular.  

 

 

Neither he not I were there. (Incorrect)

Neither he nor I was there. (Correct)  

5.   When the Subjects joined by or/nor are of different numbers, the Verb must be Plural, and the Plural Subject must be placed next to the Verb.  

 

 

Neither the Assistant Masters nor the Headmaster was present. (Incorrect)

Neither the Headmaster nor the Assistant Masters were present. (Correct)                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

6.   When the Subject joined by or/nor are of different persons, the Verb agrees in person with the one nearest to it.  

 

 

Either he or I is mistaken. (Incorrect)

Either he or I am mistaken. (Correct)  

7.   A Collective Noun takes a Singular Verb when the collection is thought of as a whole, a Plural Verb when the individuals of which it is composed are thought of.  

 

 

 

The council has chosen the President. (Incorrect)

The military were called out. (Correct)  

8.   Some Nouns which are singular in form but plural in meaning, take a Plural Verb.  

 

 

Mathematics are a branch of study in every school. (Incorrect)

Mathematics is a branch of study in every school. (Correct)    

 

*            B. Uses of Participles and Infinitives  

 

9.   Ask, advise, allow, command, force, forbid, invite, encourage, compel, beg, order, imagine, instruct, permit, persuade, tell, require, remind, tech, etc. are followed by Object + To + .

 

 

 

He advised to do it by me. (Incorrect)

He advised me to do it. (Correct)

But if these are used in Passive Voice, then they are followed by To + . She was permitted to go with him. (Correct)  

10.   Know is followed by how/where/when/why and Infinitive.  

 

 

 

I know to write a letter. (Incorrect)

I know how to write a letter. (Correct)  

11.   After let, bid, behold, watch, see, feel, make etc. we use Bare-infinitive and not To-infinitive.  

 

 

 

I heard him to speak on several subjects. (Incorrect)

I heard him speak on several subjects. (Correct)  

12.   Bare-infinitive is used after Modal Auxiliaries {can, could, may, might, shall, should, will, would, must, dare not, need not}.  

 

 

 

You need not to work hard. (Incorrect)

You need not work hard. (Correct)  

13.   Had better, has rather, had a soon...as....had sooner, etc. are followed by Bare-infinitive.  

 

 

 

He had better to go now. (Incorrect)

He had better go now. (Correct)  

14.   Conjunction than is also followed by Bare-infinitive.  

 

 

He had better read than to write. (Incorrect)

He had better read than write. (Correct)  

15.   For completed action having +  is used in Active Voice, whereas having + been +  or Being +  is used in Passive Voice. After should not be used in such a sentence.  

 

 

 

After the leader having been killed, the followers ran away. (Incorrect) The leader having been killed, the followers ran away. (Correct)    

*            C. Uses of Verbs  

 

16.   When there are two Subjects in a sentence and they are not in the same Number, we must have to use separate auxiliaries (is, are, am, was, were, have, has) for both of them.  

 

 

 

There killed and one were injured. (Incorrect)

Three were killed and on was injured. (Correct)    

17.   A Single Verb should be made to serve two Subjects, only when the form of Verb is same for both the subjects.  

 

 

 

I am seventeen years old and my sister fourteen. (Incorrect)

I am seventeen years old and my sister is fourteen. (Correct)  

18.   Two auxiliaries can be used with one principal Verb only when the form of the Principal Verb is appropriate to both the auxiliaries.

 

 

 

He never has, and never will take such strong measures. (Incorrect)

He never has taken, and never will take such strong measures. (Correct)  

19.   A Past Tense in the main clause should be followed by a Past Tense in the subordinate clause.  

 

 

 

He succeeded because he works hard. (Incomplete)

He succeeded because he worked hard. (Correct)  

20.   A Past Tense in main clause may be followed by a Present Tense in the subordinate clause when the subordinate clause expresses a universal truth.  

 

 

 

Our teacher said that the earth moved round the sun. (Incorrect)

Our teacher said that the earth moves round the sun. (Correct)  

21.   An infinitive should be in the Present Tense unless it represents an action prior to that of the governing Verb.  

 

 

 

I should have liked to have gone there. (Incorrect)

I should have liked to go there. (Correct)  

22.   If a Gerund is preceded by a Pronoun than the Pronoun must be in Possessive case.  

 

 

 

He emphasized me going there. (Incorrect)

He emphasized my going there. (Correct)  

23.   A Verb when preceded by a Preposition must be a Gerund.  

 

 

 

They were punished for come late. (Incorrect)

They were punished for coming late. (Correct)  

24.   The Simple Future Tense is not used in the clauses of time, place and condition. Here the Simple Present Tense is used.

 

 

I shall wait for you till you will finish your work. (Incorrect) I shall wait for you, till you finish your work. (Correct)    

 

*            D. Uses of Adjectives  

25.   Adjectives of quantity show how much of a thing is meant. Adjectives of quantity [some, much, little, enough, all, no, any, great, half, sufficient, whole are used for Uncountable Nouns only.  

 

 

 

I ate a few rice. (Incorrect)

I ate some rice. (Correct)  

26.   Numeral Adjectives are used for Countable Noun only and they show how many persons or things are meant or in what order a person or thing stands.  

 

 

 

I have taught you little things. (Incorrect)

I have taught you a few things. (Correct)  

27.   When cardinal and ordinal are used together ordinal precedes the cardinal.  

 

 

 

The four first boys will be given the chance. (Incorrect)

The first four boys will be given the chance. (Correct)  

28.   Later, latest refer to time, latter and last refer to position.  

 

 

 

I reached at 10 am. But he was latter than I expected. (Incorrect)

I reached at 10 am. But he was later than I expected. (Correct)  

29.   Farther means more distant or advance; further means additional.  

 

 

 

He insisted on farther improvement. (Incorrect)

He insisted on further improvement. (Correct)  

30.   Each is used in speaking of two or more things, every is used only in speaking of more than two.  

 

 

 

Every of the two boys will get a prize. (Incorrect)

Each of the two boys will get a prize. (Correct)  

31.   In comparing two things, the Comparative should be used. The Superlative should not be used.  

 

 

 

Which is the best of the two? (Incorrect)

Which is the better of the two? (Correct)  

32.   The comparative Adjectives superior, inferior, senior, junior, prior, anterior, posterior, prefer, etc., should be followed by 'to' instead of 'than'.  

 

 

 

He is senior than me. (Incorrect)

He is senior to me. (Correct)  

33.   Adjectives like unique, ideal, perfect, complete, universal, entire, extreme, chief, full square and round, which do not admit different degrees of comparison should not be compared.  

 

 

 

It is the most unique thing. (Incorrect)

It is a unique thing. (Correct)  

34.   'Elder' and 'eldest' should be used for persons only. Strictly speaking, they are used for the members of the same family only. 'Older' and 'oldest' are used for both persons and things.  

 

 

 

He is my older brother. (Incorrect)

He is my elder brother. (Correct)  

 

*            E. Uses of Adverbs  

 

35.   To modify a Verb, an Adjective or another Adverb, we use an Adverb.  

 

 

 

She writes very careful. (Incorrect)

She writes very carefully. (Correct)

Carefully is an Adjective which cannot modify the Adverb very, therefore, carefully (Adverb) must be used in place of Adjective careful.  

36.   A sentence which is based on 'too...to' format, we cannot replace to with so that. If we replace to with so that, too also must be replace with cannot.  

 

 

 

He is too weak so that he cannot walk. (Incorrect)

He is too weak to walk. (Correct)

He is so weak that he cannot walk. (Correct)  

37.   Quite and all are not used together.  

 

 

 

He is quite all right. (Incorrect)

He is quite right. Or he is all right. (Correct)  

38.   Enough, when used as an Adverb, is preceded by a positive degree Adjective or Adverb.  

 

 

 

He is greater enough to pardon you. (Incorrect)

He is great enough to pardon you. (Correct)    

39.   Two negatives cancel each other. Hence two negatives should not be used in the same sentence unless we make an affirmation.  

 

 

 

I have not go none. (Incorrect)

I have not got any. (Correct)  

40.   'At present' means 'at the present time', 'Presently' means 'shortly'. These should not be confused.  

 

 

 

(i)   Nothing more can be done presently. (Incorrect)

Nothing more can be done at present. (Correct)

(ii)  He will come back at present. (Incorrect)

He will come back presently. (Correct)  

41.   'Hard' means 'diligently', 'strenuously', 'Hardly' means 'scarcely at all'. These two Adverbial forms of 'hard' must not be confused.  

 

 

 

(i)   He tried hardly to win the race. (Incorrect)       

He tried hard to win the race. (Correct)

(ii)  She has eaten hard anything today. (Incorrect)       

She has eaten hard anything today. (Correct)  

42.   Ago is always used with Past Indefinite Tense. So, if 090 is used in a sentence, that sentence must be in the Past Indefinite Tense.  

 

 

 

He has come a month ago. (Incorrect)

He came a month ago. (Correct)  

43.   The sentence which starts with seldom, never, hardly, rarely or scarcely takes an inverse structure, i.e., Verb + Subject = Structure.  

 

 

 

Seldom I had seen such a beautiful sight. (Incorrect)

Seldom had I seen such a beautiful sight. (Correct)  

 

*            F. Uses of Conjunctions  

44.   Two Conjunctions should not be used in the same sentence.  

 

 

 

Although she was tired, but she still went on working. (Incorrect)

Although she was tired, she still went on working. (Correct)  

45.   'Both' should be followed by 'and'. It should be used in the positive sense. In negative sense, 'neither'... 'nor' should be used in place of 'both'.  

 

 

 

Both Ravi as well as Raja were present. Both Ravi and Raja were present.  

46.   'Either?or', 'neither....nor,? 'both.....and', 'not only... bust also' should be followed by the same parts of speech.

 

 

He not only his ticket but also his luggage. (Incorrect)

He lost not only his ticket but also his luggage. (Correct)  

47.   'Neither' should be followed by 'nor', 'either' should be followed by 'or'. Both these should not be confused.  

 

 

 

He washed neither his hands or his face. (Incorrect)

He washed neither his hands nor his face. (Correct)  

48.   'No sooner' should be followed by 'than', not by 'but' or then'.  

 

 

 

No sooner do 1 finish this book then 1 shall begin another. (Correct)

No sooner do 1 finish the book than 1 shall begin another. (Correct)    

 

*            G. Uses of Preposition  

49.   Objective case (of Noun or Pronoun) is used after Preposition.  

 

 

 

I do not depend on he. (Incorrect)

I do not depend on him. (Correct)  

50.   If a Principal Verb is used after about, after, at, before, for, from, in, on, to that Verb must be in-ing  form.  

 

 

 

You prevented me from do it. (Incorrect)

You prevented me from doing it. (Correct)  

51.   On, in, at are not used before today, tomorrow, yesterday, the following day, the next day, etc.  

 

 

 

He will go there on tomorrow. (Incorrect)

He will go there tomorrow. (Correct)  

52.   Say / suggest/ propose/ speak/ reply/ explain/ talk/ listen/ write is followed by to- Preposition if there is a person in the form of object.

 

 

 

(i)   He did not reply me. (Incorrect)       

He did not reply to me. (Correct)

(ii)  He did not write to a letter. (Incorrect)       

He did not write a letter. (Correct)  

 

*            H. Uses of Pronouns  

53.   When a Pronoun is used as the complement of the Verb 'to be', it should be in the nominative case.  

 

 

 

If I were him, I would not do it. (Incorrect)

If I were he, I would not do it. (Correct)  

54.   'Each other' is used in speaking of two persons or things; 'one another' is used in speaking of more than two.  

 

 

 

The two brothers loved one another. (Incorrect)

The two brothers loved each other. (Correct)  

55.   When two or more Singular Pronouns of different persons come together, the Pronoun of second person Singular (you) comes first, the Pronoun of the first person Singular (I) comes last and the Pronoun of the third person Singular (he) comes in between.  

 

 

 

I, you and he must work together. (Incomplete)

You, he and I must work together. (Correct)  

56.   When two or more plural Pronouns of different persons come together, the first person Plural (we) comes first, then second person Plural (you) and at last, third person Plural (they).  

 

 

 

You, they and we must work together. (Incorrect)

We, you and they must work together. (Correct)  

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